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Furniture Considerations for Academic Libraries

| Office Design


Sep 2 2014

You don’t have to be an avid reader to appreciate the calm, quiet and studious nature of a well-designed library. Due to how they are used, academic libraries have very particular requirements that all their furnishings must meet. There are a few important factors to consider whenever you are purchasing furniture items for an academic library.


  1. How durable and/or reusable the furniture item is. A library in an academic setting is bound to be open and in use quite a lot more than your average library. It’s best to search for options that promise long-lasting use and impressive durability. Look for items that are solidly built. Another option is to find a retailer like NBF that offers a lifetime guarantee on most of their products.

  2. How flexible, adaptable and portable the furniture item is. Today, it’s important for any setting to contemplate patron characteristics. Students and other academics will have vastly different preferences when it comes to how they like to work or how they can best study and learn. Furniture that supports different body types and different preferred postures/is able to change to suit the user’s preference is always the best option in academic libraries. This way, your library supports and caters to many different work and learning styles. An example of such would be not only including standing tables and workstations, but also lounge style seating.

  3. How the furniture item contributes to a balanced environment. As with most environments, balance in a design is vital for an academic library. This is especially true when it comes to natural and artificial lighting. Natural light, as we detailed in our previous blog post, is the most preferable source of light, as it can boost productivity, but artificial light will be needed to ensure that the area is properly lit, thereby avoiding eye strain during evening hours and on rainy days.

  4. How does the furniture support technology concerns. One of the most frequent complaints in an academic library, especially one that accommodates college students with laptops, is the shortage of power outlets. Today, many desks come with wire management systems and grommet holes to make charging a laptop a much simpler process. Another concern with technology is simply ensuring that you have the proper desks and equipment to support and store various forms of technology available in your academic library. Some lounge seating options also feature built-in power outlets to help address this problem.

To learn more about design an ideal academic library, be sure to check out the Academic Library Building Design Resource.


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